Today I thought I'd share one of my recent food obsessions: Fried Green Tomatoes. A staple from the American South, up until this years experiment they only existed in my mind as something I'd remembered seeing on Love & Olive Oil and How Sweet It Is. They popped into my mind when we were clearing out the greenhouse of all the end of season, dying tomato plants and had lots of unripe, green fruit leftover. Through several batches I've learnt some important Fried Green Tomato lessons. Don't worry, though, if you don't grow your own tomatoes. You can find the green ones at any good farmers market, and in some supermarkets.
Fried Green Tomatoes are exactly what they say on the tin; unripe, green tomatoes that have been dipped in egg and breaded, before frying. They're great in sandwiches and salads, but I personally love them as a lunch or a side, liberally sprinkled with Maldon sea salt and doused in my hot sauce of choise, Sriracha. Traditionally they're coated in cornmeal, but I don't have any in the house at the moment. (Where do you even buy it? I want to get my hands on some so I can make the cornbread in Izy's book!) So, I've used my favourite standby of matzo meal (see my recipe for Breaded Prawns with Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce), but after asking around on social media, I know polenta also works well. It has also been suggested to me that the tomatoes are dipped in flavoured mayo. Honestly, I can't think of a better idea than that!
Through trial and error I've discovered that the largest tomatoes you can find, in thick slices make the best fried green tomatoes, though most others work to varying degrees of success. There are issues with the coating sticking to the smooth skins if you use the ends of tomatoes, but it is do-able. The only ones I would caution against which I discovered the other day is coating the tiny little ones pictured above whole. They work, but the little ones taste frankly terrible cooked. You have been warned!
You don't really need a recipe, per say to make these slightly sweet, slightly sour, crunchy pockets of flavour, just directions. You'll need plain flour, a beaten egg (add a little water) and matzo meal or breadcrumbs laid out in three separate dishes. Your tomatoes need to be sliced, then dipped first in the flour, then the egg, then the crumbs. Keep one hand for the dry flour and crumbs, and the other for the wet egg. This will prevent you breading your fingers! Heat about 1.5 cm equal parts groundnut and sunflower oil in a deep frying pan until it is shimmering. Turn the heat down to medium and fry for a minute on each side until nice and golden. Drain on a plate lined with kitchen towel, and serve sprinkled with sea salt.
Have any on my non-American readers made, or even heard of Fried Green Tomatoes before? As for my American readers, especially those of you from down South, I'd love to hear any hints, tips, personal recipes and serving suggestions!